Bakunin: God and the State
February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Old School March!
For the first week in Old School March, we will be reading Bakunin: God and the State. Since its first publication it has been one of Bakunin’s greatest known works. Originally he titled the book “The Historical Sophisms of the Doctrinaire School of Communism”, but what does he know? It was discovered by Carlo Cafiero and Élisée Reclus, close friends of Bakunin around the time of his death. The two looked tirelessly for the missing parts of the book, but had no success. Bakunin explains “My life is a fragment.” They translated the book into French and distributed it as a pamphlet in Geneva in 1882. Cafiero and Reclus titled the book Dieu et l’état (God and the State). In 1883, the American anarchist Benjamin Tucker translated the book into English and distributed it in pamphlet form throughout Boston. The book’s original title was not discovered in Bakunin’s diary until after Cafiero and Reclus’s deaths.
“A jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”